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This is yet another incarnation of my personal blog. Here's where you can read about what I do when I'm not at work: hiking, seeing plays and other shows, eating, traveling, etc.

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Signs of Spring

Posted by gck Saturday, March 20, 2010 0 comments

Since I haven’t left the country since India last June and don’t currently have any plans to do so in the near future (particularly since my passport is expired), I have unconsciously been filling my travel need by having adventures near home. This time, I decided Friday night that I needed to take advantage of the non-rainy weather on Saturday by going hiking. Instead of fighting the Seattle crowds at Tiger Mountain or Mount Si, I opted instead to greet the smaller Bellingham crowd at Larrabee State Park.

View of Samish Bay Long way down

The drive up was about an hour and a half, which is a pretty long drive for such a short hike. But as soon as I passed Everett, the views got really pretty. I started off early, so I was looking at pastel layers of mountains beautifully reflected in a large, manmade water or sewage collection pool. :) Then 15 miles on Chuckanut Drive yielded green farm pastures (full of cows and swans?!) with snowy Mount Baker overhead, followed by views of Samish Bay. I also discovered that Taylor Shellfish is on that street, so next time I’ll have to bring ice and bring back oysters.

Flower starting to bloom View of Fragrance Lake through trees

As I was driving up, there weren’t any cars behind me, so I was starting to worry if I misjudged the popularity of the park and would be hiking alone. But no, I guess the Bellingham folks come a different way, and there were plenty of people there by the time I arrived. I wanted to start at a particular trailhead, and I managed to snag the second-to-last parking spot, and the last one was occupied a few minutes later. And that was at 9am!

The hike was on the easy side, but for the most part it was just switchbacks climbing upwards. My winter legs were complaining immediately. Fortunately, it wasn’t long at all, and I quickly reached the 1 mile mark where there was a turn off to a viewpoint of Samish Bay. There, I met the woman who parked after I did, and we chatted a bit about hiking and grumbled about how bad the elderly trail runners make us feel. She was a massage therapist from Bellingham, and we discovered that we attended the same Steely Dan concert last year. She turned back from there to continue her day, and I took a few pictures and saw a bald eagle fly by before continuing my climb towards Fragrance Lake.

Fragrance Lake Samish Bay

As soon as the switchbacks stopped, I was disappointed to see a road with cars parked. There’s nothing like walking up 1000 feet to see that it was possible to drive up. Ah well. I walked the loop around the small lake, at first only getting glimpses of the water through the trees. There were lots of benches to sit and relax, and the lake was really pretty with nice reflections of the trees. It would have been more peaceful if two dogs on the other side of the lake weren’t trying to kill each other. There was also some trail running event taking place that day, and I can only assume that the finish line was near the lake, because I could hear a lot of howling. The walk down was quick, and even with the chat time at the viewpoint and relaxing at the lake, I was back at my car around noon.

The Burlington Outlets were just an exit south of Chuckanut Drive, so I had to make a stop there to hit the only lululemon outlet in the state. Since those outlets were smaller and further from Seattle than others, it wasn’t that crowded, which made me happy.

Daffodil field White follies 

As a final stop before heading back to Seattle, I drove a few more miles south to Mount Vernon to check out the flower fields. I knew the tulips wouldn’t be in bloom yet, but I wanted to see some daffodils before the Tulip Festival crowds came around in April. It wasn’t disappointing! There were a few spots of red in a few of the tulip fields, but the daffodils were in full bloom. I even found one field with ice follies (white and yellow daffodils).

Bird feeder at my place Sushi

Got back around 3pm and caught a few little birds eating at the bird feeders in front of my condo. Took a short nap before heading into Seattle to the First Hill neighborhood, a place where I almost never go. I had yummy sushi at Sushi Kanpai and then listened to beautiful choral music at St. James Cathedral. The cathedral was really cool – I can’t believe I’ve been in Seattle this long without seeing it.

St. James Cathedral St. James Cathedral - Interior

And that’s my day!